Jan. 9, 2014
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State women's basketball team never trailed and controlled the action against No. 16/14 Nebraska on Thursday night, topping the Huskers, 70-57. Senior Annalise Pickrel and redshirt freshman Aerial Powers each scored 17 points and posted double-doubles, as the Spartans improved to 10-5 overall and 2-0 in the Big Ten.
Powers had an impressive stat line with 17 points, going 5-for-8 from the field, 15 rebounds, three steals and two blocks in only 27 minutes. Pickrel was 4-for-6 from 3-point tonight, while adding 10 rebounds for her second career double-double. Junior Becca Mills and freshman Tori Jankoska each added 10 points, and junior Kiana Johnson dished out eight assists.
With the score tied at four, Michigan State ran off nine-straight points over a span of almost five minutes to jump ahead, 13-4 with under 14 minutes until halftime. The Huskers would get within five (29-24) with 2:49 on the clock. However, the Spartans scored the final eight points, capped by an athletic putback by Powers to beat the buzzer.
Michigan State continued the momentum into the second half. After Nebraska opened the half with a 3-pointer, the Spartans went on an 11-0 run over the next four minutes to go ahead 48-27. MSU's lead would grow to as much as 25 (62-37) with 8:53 left, before the Huskers chipped back within 13, but got no closer.
The Huskers, the preseason Big Ten favorite by the league's coaches and media, fell to 11-3 overall and 1-1 in the Big Ten.
The Spartan defense was tough again tonight, holding Nebraska to season lows in points and field goal percentage (30.8%). The Huskers entered the night, averaging 76.2 points and shooting 45.0% on the season.
The Spartans face in-state rival Michigan for the only time this season on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. on Big Ten Network.
- The win was head coach Suzy Merchant's 150th at Michigan State.
- Michigan State begins Big Ten play at 2-0 for the third time under Coach Merchant (2011, 2012) and for the 10th time overall.
- It was the first time since Jan. 13, 2013 at Illinois that the Spartans had two double-doubles in the same game.
- Powers' 15 rebounds were the most in a game since Lykendra Johnson grabbed 15 vs. Penn State on Jan. 7, 2012.
- Over her last 10 games, Johnson has 71 assists and only 17 turnovers.
- Johnson tied her career high with two blocks.
- With her four 3-pointers, Pickrel moved into ninth all-time at MSU with 112 in her career.
- Pickrel also moved into a tie for 11th all-time with 60 career blocks and Mills jumped into 15th place with 53 career blocks.
- MSU's nine blocks tonight tied a season high.
- The Spartans are 10-0 this season when shooting more free throws than their opponent.
- Michigan State is now 2-2 this season against ranked opponents. The Spartans are also 11-11 under Coach Merchant against ranked Big Ten teams.
- It was the highest ranked win at Breslin Center for MSU since beating No. 8 Xavier on Dec. 9, 2009.
- Michigan State won its fourth-straight Big Ten home opener.
- MSU is now 2-1 all-time against the Huskers, winning both meetings in Breslin Center.
- Tonight was Michigan State's first game on Big Ten Network this season. All-time, MSU is 32-19 when playing on BTN.